Grounding your station

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  KK6ZDB 1 year, 5 months ago.

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  • #10691

    KM6BYD
    Participant

    I am new to ham radio, just passed the Tech and General tests. I am setting up my station. Initially, I will have a HT and a mobile rig that I can use at home partly as a cross band repeater for the HT. I have been reading a lot. I am recently retired and have an EE background so I know enough to be dangerous. Most people I have read recommend that you put in an 8 foot ground rod and connect all your devices (radios, power supplies, tuners, etc) to a copper pipe that is connected to the ground rod, all your antennas through lightning arrestors, and the ground rod is tied to your house power ground rod. I wonder if it is really needed here where lightning is such a rare occurrence. What do you use for grounding for your shack? What would you suggest be done for mine?

    #10692

    kz6t
    Moderator

    My HF radios get grounded to a bus that is tied to 1/2″ wide flat copper braided strap that is tied to a ground rod. (Due to soil conditions I could only go down 4 feet.) I don’t have any lightning protection other than disconnecting everything when the odd storm comes rolling in.

    Talk to Joe K6AWA. He gave a very informative talk on grounding a few months ago.

    73 … Charlie

    #10711

    KK6ZDB
    Moderator

    I went through this exercise recently setting up my QTH. In short, yes, I did drive an 8′ ground rod. I have a single random wire antenna going through a lightning arrestor, grounded to the rod. the rod is also tied to the rebar in my house foundation. While not currently tied to my electrical ground rod I will be running ~100′ of #6AWG stranded copper connecting the two. Similar to Charlie, when we start getting electrical storms I unplug my antenna and stick the connector in a ceramic jar away from my radio. Also, as Charlie mentioned, Joe (K6AWA) is a good resource of information however, his home is in the coastal mountains ~1,400′ ASL so his situation calls for more drastic measures.
    I figure do it once, do it right. In the rare chance a strike does happen at or very close to me I’d like to give my equipment the best chance of survival.

    Slightly off topic and this needs no response but there are websites and apps (if you’re a smart phone user) that can show you lightning strikes:
    Blitzortung

    73
    Aaron
    KK6ZDB

    #10766

    KM6BYD
    Participant

    I have done a lot more reading on this subject and one of the best articles I found was “Power, Grounding, Bonding, and Audio for Ham Radio” at http://www.audiosystemsgroup.com/publish.htm He explains about lightning strikes and RFI and hum in general and what is the best way to bond your grounds together.

    I am going to get some heavy grounding wire. I need 100 feet but the price at Home Depot for 100 feet of #8 wire ($.59/foot) is almost twice the price per foot for 500 feet ($.31/foot) . Would anyone else like to share part of a 500 foot spool? I need about 100 feet.

    #10768

    KK6ZDB
    Moderator

    One comment on the wire size, for electrical grounds the NEC calls for #4 or #6 (AWG) at a minimum. Not that a #8 won’t work, just don’t ask for an inspector to come by 😉

    Try Platt for pricing. They may offer better pricing on certain items when compare to the big-box store.

    73

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